Getting from Pen to Published


After eight years of blogging (and a solid couple years of book writing), last week I watched in utter disbelief as my profanity-laced, progressive-Christian, anti-establishment, niche-as-fuck, spiritual memoir became a #1 Best Seller in Christian Theology and spiked at #65 out of all the books on Amazon. ALL THE BOOKS! Naturally, when The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever snuck its way into the ranks of Top 100 books of the biggest book retailer in the history of the planet, I bawled my face off. I just couldn’t believe it…like, it made no sense.

I just kept shaking my head, wondering how the hell did this happen???

…Ok, ok. It’s easy for me to pretend that I have no idea, but the truth is: 1) I think God has something to do with it, and 2) I have worked really hard and I’ve spent a lot of time and creative energy cultivating this blog and writing this book. I poured my heart and soul into both, over the years, and though I admit that becoming a published writer was not my lifelong dream, I now understand the deep sense of satisfaction an author feels at holding their own words in print. It’s legitimately surreal.

Since I’ve walked through the weird process of going from blogger to booker, people often ask me how I did it, and the answer is… I had help.

Like, great help — Amazing, smart, practical, brilliant, experienced, knowledgeable help, and I can’t imagine having taken this journey without it.


Who helped me? I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!!!

Mostly, it was my literary agent, Rachelle Gardner.

Rachelle’s input and advice was a total game changer for me. When I started to get inquiries from publishers about a potential book, I had no clue what to tell them. I didn’t know how to even begin writing a book proposal, what to include in a book proposal, or how to best shop a book proposal. I didn’t know which publishers I was best suited to work with as a writer, or what I was worth as an author. But Rachelle did. With Rachelle’s help I was able to narrow down what kind of book I should write, how to maximize my book proposal (for $$$!), who to get said proposal in front of, and how to get it there. Looking back, I know I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have done it without her.

So, how can Rachelle help you? OMG, ANOTHER GREAT QUESTION!!!

Rachelle now has a course for writers who are ready to embark on the journey from Pen to Published — and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I seriously can’t tell you how badly I wish I’d learned all of the stuff she’s going to cover in 8 weeks instead of the 8 years I spent trying to figure it out on my own. To be clear, I’ve been working with Rachelle for a long time now and I happily call her a friend, but she did not walk me through this process simply out of the kindness of her heart. As my agent, I pay her for her services and, I swear, I’ve never been happier to give anyone my money in my entire life. It’s just so worth it for so many reasons.

The Pen to Published course begins on April 22! Click here for more details.

Good luck and God speed on your writing journey!



  1. Catherine Martin on April 13, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    I just read your book yesterday. Yes, the whole thing in one day! So many good insights! Thank you for writing it all down in one place.

    (And thanks for the Author School info. My husband has been suggesting that I write a memoir about my journey from family practice doctor to chronic migraine disabled doctor drop-out (put your loser name of choice here and don’t tell my counselor). So, maybe I’ll look into it.)

  2. Karen Viljoen on April 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Congratulations on your #1 bestseller – which I am sure was never the goal. However, it does reveal a hunger out there for authentic faith in Jesus. Your book was profane, AND beautiful; funny and disturbing; convicting and inspiring. As a missionary, and the coordinator for short-term “missionaries”, you have given me a lot to consider before my Lord.

  3. Howard Pepper on April 24, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I’m a progressive Christian who came out of the traditional Evangelical line almost 25 years ago, and am now involved in a UCC church (extension of “old-line liberalism”)… can’t fully identify with the latter either. I’ve certainly heard you mentioned before, but just now looking at your blog and book.

    Thanks for the effort to get it all out to the world. As both a blogger and an ebook author, I appreciate the specifics about some of your writing/publishing experiences. I intend to be following now, for both those tidbits and for the “deeper” content. We need both deep reflection/study and committed activism! Apparently this is your posture as well.

  4. David Schwier on April 29, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Good job, Jamie! Obviously your voice and thoughts need to be heard at this time. You’re a great writer and super funny and you’re helping so many people navigate their spirituality in this time in history. Keep up the good work!

  5. Jeffrey Taylor on May 16, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I read your piece in the Christian Century. It had real punch and authenticity. And very fine writing. Keep up the Good Work 😉 And congratulations on the book rank.

  6. Bible Motivation Daily on July 3, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Great passion.
    Bible Motivation Daily

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